Diary of a practitioner: An approved social worker writes

Diary: An approved social worker in a community mental health team writes

Monday This morning I see a client with bipolar disorder, to review his care plan. I give him an application form to apply for a health card that he can use at his local health centre. He will need to have proof he is receiving benefits. Once he obtains the card, he will be able to access all the fitness classes for a few pounds. He pointed out that this card would encourage him to take his children for some swimming lessons at the weekends. This makes me feel better until he asks me whether I’ve heard anything from the mood management workshop that I referred him to a few months ago. I had to inform him that he is still on the waiting list.

Tuesday Today I am on the approved social worker day time duty rota. I spend some time with the final year social work studies student who is on placement with us. I am her practice teacher. We complete some questionnaires to identify our learning habits and preferences. We both come out as reflectors and theorists. This is a good exercise because it gives us an idea of other learning styles that we could put more effort into and identifies what activities and ways of learning we are particularly good at.


Wednesday This morning I carry out a home visit to a client who has recently moved house with her two children. She has anxiety disorder and used to self-harm, although she has not hurt herself since her children were born. She opens the door to me in a very good mood and enjoys showing me around her new home, which she has started decorating herself. She informs me that she feels so much better and the children have been much brighter since they have moved house. Another factor that has improved things was the departure of her partner, who she says had unpredictable mood swings. I check that she has registered with her local GP and give her the details of the local children’s centre. This will enable her to meet other mothers and make friends. The centre will offer support with parenting and respite, which is important now that she is a single mother.

Thursday I meet a female client who has low confidence and self-esteem and finds herself in one poor relationship after another. She has a diagnosis of personality disorder. She is on the waiting list for dialectical behavioural therapy to address her impulsiveness and self-harming. In the meantime I make a referral for her to attend a women’s workshop, which is a group for those who want to improve their communication and assertiveness skills.

Friday I have supervision with the student in the morning discussing her caseload. We then discuss the changing role of ASWs to approved mental health practitioners and how this will affect people’s attitudes when working together. In the afternoon, I talk about my cases with my manager and consider which clients I can close and how much time I have for new referrals. I wonder where good old supervision went with time allocated to discuss theory and practice and practice issues.

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